I have owned a Windows Home Server (WHS) for quite a while now and a year or so ago I bought an Xbox 360 to accompany it, mainly for the media streaming capabilities. However trying to setup streaming to the 360 proved to incredibly annoying. This is mainly due to the fact that the codec and container support of the default solution: using the 360 as a media centre extender, is supremely crap, which when faced with my media collection which has a large number of Anime files in various containers like .mkv with various codec types and soft subtitle files on top, led to situation in which it failed miserably.
The only real chance of getting this media to display on the 360, without going through and re-encoding all my media, is to transcode. At the time the program I used to attempt this was Tversity. However even this had problems, namely getting Tversity to recognise .mkv files was inordinately hard and forget about trying to get soft-subs to work.
So I gave up on streaming nirvana, until the past week where I thought i’d have another stab at it, hoping that the general situation for streaming to the 360 would have improved. After a couple of days of messing around, I have finally managed to find a solution that will not only stream all my media to the 360, but also embed soft-subs as well!
I will outline the process I followed to achieve this below, but the main reason for my current success, I believe, is replacing Tversity as the media server/transcoder with PS3 Media Server (ironic I know). I installed PS3 Media Server on my desktop instead of the WHS because the processor is far more powerful, and you will require a decent processor to enable effective transcoding, however if you have a decent processor in your WHS you could probably just install PS3 Media Server on it without needing the desktop.
The steps I followed:
- Install PS3 Media Server
- Install AVISynth 2.5.7, which can be found here (apparently 2.5.8 may not work well with PS3 Media Server)
- Install a codec pack, I use CCCP
- In CCP settings: Set the FFDShow Audio Mixer to 2/0/0 Stereo
- In CCP settings: Set “Autoload VS Filter” to true
- In PS3 Media Server, select the folders you want to share to your 360
- (Optional) In Haali settings: Configure audio/subtitles language priorities, I suggest the following If you watch anime:
- Audio Language Priority: jpn
- Subtitle Language Priority: eng
You should now be able to access the media server via UPNP on your 360 (assuming your network is setup correctly), PS3 Media Server will display the folder structure of your media collection on the 360, but will also include a “TRANSCODE” folder in each folder, this allows you to select different transcode options for each individual video file from the 360 itself, I use the “Avisynth/MEncoder” option most of the time, as it tends to give the best results.